2016 distinguished alumni Recipient
BA 1963, Colgate University; MA 1966; PhD 1968, English
Professor Emeritus, English and Director Emeritus, Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry, Ball State University
Joe Trimmer, Professor Emeritus of English and Director Emeritus of the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, was the first person to receive a PhD. in English from Purdue University (1968). Winner of Ball State's Outstanding Researcher's Award (1980) and Outstanding Faculty Award (2000), Dr. Trimmer is the author of numerous articles on literature, culture and literacy. His books include Black American Literature: Notes on the Problem of Definition (1971); The National Book Award for Fiction: The First Twenty-five Years (1978); Understanding Others: Cultural and Cross-Cultural Studies and the Teaching of Literature (1992); and Narration as Knowledge: Tales of the Teaching Life (1997).
His textbooks include American Oblique: Writing About the American Experience (1976); Writing with a Purpose, 14th Edition (2004); The River Reader, 12th Edition (2016); eFictions (2000); The Sundance Introduction to Literature (2007). Dr. Trimmer has also worked on 20 documentary films for PBS--including the six-part series, Middletown (1982) which was nominated for eight Emmys and won first prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
In the last decade, Dr. Trimmer has given numerous lectures at national and international conferences on creative inquiry, immersive learning and undergraduate research. He serves on the Board of Directors of Indiana Humanities and as a Councilor in the Arts and Humanities Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Each year, Dr. Trimmer and his wife Carol ('66) sponsor a scholarship for a Purdue undergraduate conducting research in an international setting.